A criminal record can affect the rest of your life. It will make signing a lease, completing your education, or finding a suitable job difficult. Even if a criminal charge does not lead to a conviction, the prosecution and your arrest record remain on your record, affecting many aspects of your life. Fortunately, you can apply to seal or expunge your criminal records. That will prevent anyone from accessing or using the information in your record against you. Expungement and record sealing are legal procedures that enable you to conceal your criminal history from the public. You can seek the assistance of a qualified criminal attorney if you want to restart your life after an arrest or criminal conviction. Your attorney can explain the differences and recommend the best action for you.
Sealing and Expungement: An Overview
Even though nobody wants a criminal history, you can end up with one if you make a poor choice in life. Even a less serious criminal charge or arrest could leave you with a tarnished criminal record that will follow you for a long time. But the law offers options for sealing or expunging criminal records if you wish to put your criminal past behind you and continue with your life. But the law and eligibility requirements determine whether your criminal record can be sealed or expunged.
By sealing criminal records, you can make your criminal record invisible so that it does not appear when someone runs a background check on you. Be aware that some people research people's backgrounds before engaging them. For example, a prospective employer can perform a background check on you before extending a job offer. They could consider your criminal history while deciding whether to hire you. Potential employers will not know about your prior arrests, criminal accusations, or convictions once your records are sealed.
However, the police and prosecutors have access to sealed criminal records. They can access and utilize your sealed records through a court order. It implies that criminal records that are sealed do not entirely disappear. If a court orders access to your history, it can still impact your life.
Conversely, expungement is a legal procedure that allows you to destroy a criminal arrest, charge, and conviction. It is the most desirable alternative to starting over in life after a negative criminal history. However, it is typically not accessible for all criminal convictions and arrests. The type of arrest or conviction and your state largely determine whether you are eligible for expungement. The next step you should take is determine whether the arrest or conviction on your record is suitable for expungement.
According to California law, specific criminal arrests and convictions can be expunged. Additionally, they outline the standards you must fulfill to submit an expungement application. For example, you must serve the entirety of your sentence for the original offense before asking the court to have the record destroyed. You must also wait for a specific period following a conviction to be eligible for expungement.
Usually, expungement involves the removal of criminal records. Your criminal history cannot be used against you after expungement, not even by law enforcement.
Record Sealing Vs. Expungement
It can be reassuring to know what record sealing and expungement entail and how one or both can help you if you are concerned about dealing with the severe repercussions of a criminal record. Your arrest or conviction appears to have been cleared when records are sealed. On the other hand, expungement erases the arrest or conviction from your criminal history. In essence, it indicates that once your documents are sealed, the public cannot access them. However, a court order is necessary to reopen sealed records. Both physically and legally, they will continue to exist.
Expunged records, however, are removed from your record. Once an arrest or conviction has been erased, no one can know that it ever actually happened.
Once you turn 18 years old, your juvenile criminal record in California is typically sealed. However, a court order still permits access to those records. Giving the criminal a second chance in life is one of the benefits of sealing juvenile records. Employers, landlords, and other significant figures in your professional and personal lives will not need to know about your background. That helps you overcome the stigma attached to a criminal record for minors. However, if you have a sealed juvenile record and commit another crime as an adult, the severity of the new crime could be assessed using the sealed record.
All court records about a specific criminal crime are sealed and destroyed during expungement. No one will know about your arrest, charges, or conviction once a judge expunge your criminal record. The record will only be available to a few government personnel and will no longer be open to the general public. You are no longer required to disclose your arrest and conviction after expungement. As a result, you will receive the treatment you deserve from others in your life without being impacted by your criminal history. Expungement allows you to live your life to the fullest without the threat of prior convictions.
You petition a court for expungement once you have completed your probation, sentence, and other probationary and sentencing requirements. You will not be eligible for expungement if you serve time for another offense. Additionally, if you are under investigation for another crime, expungement is not accessible. Most felonies, especially those penalized with a prison sentence, cannot be expunged. You will be guided through the procedure and assisted in making an informed choice by your criminal attorney.
If a court sentences you to register in the sex offender registry after a sex-related conviction, you must do so even after expunging that criminal record. You can ask the court to seal and erase the record of the underlying sex crime from your criminal history if it qualifies for expungement. However, you probably will not be completely safe from those that check criminal and sex offender histories. For example, even if your conviction record is destroyed, a prospective employer can still find your information in the sex offender register.
Reasons Why Record Sealing and Expungement are Necessary
An arrest, charge, and conviction for a crime could negatively and seriously affect your life. Sadly, the effects of an arrest and conviction will still be felt in your life, even years after you have completed your term. After a sentence, many people completely transform their lives. However, they continue to experience the adverse effects of a lengthy criminal history. Even a wrongful arrest can impact many aspects of your life negatively. If it stays on your criminal record, an arrest or conviction will continue to harm your reputation.
Criminal histories are widely accessible. The advancing technology worsens the situation because most people can now readily conduct background checks on their friends, neighbors, tenants, or future employment. When you have a criminal history, persuading people that you have changed for the better is tough. That makes record sealing and expungement necessary. In this manner, hunting for work, obtaining a student loan, renting a house, buying a car, and even leading an everyday life will be easy.
You will not have to be concerned about the adverse effects of your criminal past once your records have been sealed or expunged. But remember that sealing cannot offer a complete defense against these negative effects. To erase your criminal history, you must seek expungement.
The Expungement Process
The expungement procedure takes a lot of time and effort. You need legal assistance to navigate the legal system and achieve a favorable outcome. Although submitting a petition for record expungement is feasible, working with a knowledgeable criminal lawyer will increase your chances of success. Your best course of action is to let your lawyer handle this intricate procedure's complexities. They will determine if you qualify for expungement and submit a petition to the court.
However, your knowledgeable attorney will acquire and prepare the necessary documents before filing the petition to increase your chances of success. They will need copies of your criminal history and all court records about the specific record you want to have sealed. They must complete all relevant papers and deliver them to the court before the set deadlines. Your attorney will also pay the necessary filing fee.
A judge will schedule a hearing after the court receives your petition to review the material and hear any arguments made in support of the case. Your attorney will represent you in court, prepare and table evidence, and attend all sessions.
Reasons for a Denied Record Expungement Petition
It is essential to remember that only some people who submit a record expungement petition to the court are successful. Depending on several variables, the court can accept or reject your petition. The court can deny your petition if you are ineligible for expungement, for example, if the crime for which you are asking for expungement does not fit the requirements. Remember that some felonies cannot be expunged from your criminal record. Also ineligible for expungement are federal cases. Your attorney will assist you in determining your eligibility before submitting a petition to the court.
The court can only accept your petition if you comply with all expungement requirements. Your petition will only be approved if you satisfy one or more of the aforementioned expungement criteria. For example, if you submit an expungement application while you are still in jail or prison for the original crime or another one, or before you have paid all court fees. Before submitting your petition, you must confirm that all the requirements have been met.
If you are currently under arrest or have already been convicted of another crime, the court can reject your petition.
Misdemeanor and Felony Expungements
In California, the majority of misdemeanors are eligible for expungement. The procedure is relatively simple since most misdemeanors are often penalized by probation, community service, or monetary punishment. After your probation, you can file your petition with the court. Your lawyer can help you rapidly erase that criminal record if you follow the terms of your probation and pay all court fees.
After serving your term, you can begin the process of having your DUI record erased. Most states forbid the expungement of DUI convictions. However, California allows it if probation rather than jail time was the outcome of your conviction. If you were sentenced to jail for DUI, making a successful petition for expungement could be challenging. However, a competent criminal lawyer can make the procedure easier for you.
Your lawyer can request an early probation termination on your behalf if you want to request an expungement while still on probation. Your probation officer can put in a good word on your behalf if you have adhered to the terms of your probation.
The expungement of a criminal record could be a little tricky. Keep in mind that some felonies cannot be expunged. However, an aggressive criminal defense lawyer can fight hard to compel the court to approve your petition. Additionally, the procedure can be lengthy and difficult, necessitating the assistance and support of a skilled criminal attorney. Remember that having legal representation will boost your chances of obtaining a good result.
Find an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
Are you concerned about the detrimental effects a Sacramento arrest or conviction would have on your life?
It is hazardous to your life to have a criminal record. It will impact your social and professional lives and make it challenging to access essential services reasonably. For example, you can encounter problems when finding a job or a rental house. Record sealing and expungement are crucial if you want to move on from a criminal history. However, the outcomes of the two procedures are different. Knowing what each involves, which method is better, and how to proceed will help.
Our group of knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at the Foos Gavin Law Firm can guide you through the procedure. We will defend your rights and stand by you in the battle until you are satisfied with the outcome. Call us at 916-779-3500 so we can start the lengthy legal procedure.